There are 4 main ways of carrying skis on your rucksack:
- The ‘A’ Frame.
The ‘A’ frame is the “conventional” way of carrying skis. Each ski is threaded through the compression straps, with the bindings hooked over the lower strap. The top compression strap tightens around the ski to keep it close to the sack and the tops of the ski are held together using a velcro ski strap.
This is the most stable method and the best method to use over long distances where you know you are going to be carrying your skis for a while. It also allows clearance for your heels. It does, however, take a bit of time to thread in the skis and fiddling with a velcro strap with numb hands can be quite challenging. Another slight disadvantage is when traversing or climbing a steep slope side on, the bottom of the skis can catch on both sides which is very unbalancing. The same happens with the “vertical” carry but is limited to one side. So, when on a rising traverse, you can set the skis up to give you clearance on one side.
This method is quick to do and useful for short distances, that is, simply putting the skis on top of the sack and pulling the lid over them. You can also secure them with a rope strap, if the sack has one. It is, however, unstable and the skis have a tendency to slip to one side or slide out altogether.
This method is a happy medium. It is fairly quick to set up and surprisingly stable although not quite as stable as the ‘A’ frame. It has the advantage that you don’t need a velcro rope strap which can save some faff. The only real downsides are that, if you are booting up steep ground, you can find yourself catching your heels on the bottom of the skis and if you are going down steep ground the bottom of the skis can catch on the floor. It is best suited for mid to long distance carries over ‘flatish’ ground.
To set up a vertical carry, thread the bottoms of your skis through the ice axe loop on the bottom of your rucksack then attach. Pull in the tops of the skis using a rope strap (if available) or the strap from your lid.
Putting the skis at an angle across your sack helps to improve clearance. If your sack doesn’t have ice axe loops, or your ski’s are too wide to fit through, you can use a bit of cord tied through a loop in the daisy chain to do the same job. This has the added advantage of raising the skis slightly adding to the ground clearance.
- Over your shoulder!
Don’t forget, for carrying your skis short distances, simply throwing them across your shoulder will suffice. This is no good on long distances for obvious reasons but it is quite stable and, if you put them across the top of your rucksack, much of the weight can be taken here meaning it’s not even that uncomfortable!